Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Second Post to the Blog

Chapter 6: Developing and Sustaining Effective Cofacilitation Across Identities

Okay, chapter six was pretty interesting. It dealt with how to build the cofacilitation relationship, and how to nurture it. There was a lot of small stuff I didn't know, but there were a few big takeaways too. The first is that this relationship takes a LOT of work to build and nurture. There have to be repeated discussions across multiple identities as you find out which facilitators identify as what, and why. I hope to build and grow my relationship with Ali in the same way the two women who wrote the chapter build theirs.

My second takeaway was that you not only have to accept other people's different opinions, but you have to fully embrace them. You have to try to stand in their shoes and see things from their perspective. It's not enough to listen and understand, you have to try and put yourself in their shoes. This is sometimes hard for me, so it will be a challenge to try and put myself in other peoples' shoes and be there to feel what they feel.

I also took away that this relationship should be a collaboration. We need to work together and hone our facilitator skills together. If one of us needs to work on something, BOTH of us need to work on that something. We can do some little bits and pieces of work separately, but the bulk of it will be done together. It will help us, I think, to be a solid we instead of us being he and I. And we have so much diversity (white, black; woman, man; older, younger).

Ali's mini biography.

hey Yal!!!!! I'm Ali M. Davis. I am currently a third year at the University of Cincinnati majoring in Anthropology and African Studies. I am 28 years old and plan on graduating in the winter of 2015. Even though I love to learn, I am ready to become ALUMNI!!! LOL! This year, I am going to take advantage of all that college life has to offer.

So, I love quotes from movies and old books. I really love to read, sleep, eat and watch documentaries. Some interesting facts about me are that I am a Trans-man of color and I am the most proud of that identity as it has always been there but only newly nurtured into the world outside of my head. I love to travel. My most recent endeavor landed me in Tanzania where I completed a mini ethnography about the life of LGBTQA in an overly oppressive regime.

Currently, I am a RAPPORT Facilitator with Julie N. My RAPP experience starts in RAPP XXVI where I was fortunate enough to meet wonderful people and build friendships that only get stronger with time. My goal for this school year is to learn through teaching and to teach from what I have learned.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Introduction - Julie Nemitz

Hello everyone. I wanted to make a quick introduction. My name is Julie Nemitz, and I'm a third year IT student. I'll try to keep this short, but I tend to like to talk. I'm sorry in advance if I'm too wordy!!

I'm currently working for a living, and it feels really good. I'm co-oping at Siemens PLMS, here in Cincinnati. (It's actually located in Milford, which is a decent distance away.) PLMS stands for Product Lifecycle Management Software. The company has created a program to manage a product's lifecycle so you can put all your lists and everything in one spot. The product is called TeamCenter. (Some of you may have used it, especially if you're in engineering.) We (the other co-ops and I) are helping Siemens personalize the program for its own use. We're Java Programmers. For me, it's a lot of fun.

I also work here at UC, for RAPP. So far, it's been a lot of fun. Ali and I are the cofacilitators of RAPPORT (Racial Awareness Pilot Program Ongoing Racial Talks). I can hardly wait for the first planning meeting!! Hopefully, we'll all have some great ideas and be able to put together a wonderful year. We're working with Brice and Tristen too, so that'll be fun. I'm so ready for the first meeting!!! I miss all my RAPPmates. (I was in RAPP XXIX, and I miss the days when we had regular meetings.) I got into RAPP partly because of Brice, so I owe him a big debt. One of my goals this year is to make new friends. Another is to become more cognizant of my privilege, because I'm not always aware of it. Another is to help others be cognizant of their privilege (and the areas where they AREN'T privileged). I want to work closely with Brice and Ali to deliver on these goals. And I'm sure there'll be more.

In my free time (as if I have much), I enjoy gaming (one MMORPG called Dekaron which used to be Two Moons and a lot of console games(I have a PlayStation, GameCube, and X-Box 360) of which most are Survival Horror. I know, I don't look like the type. But the more monsters I get to kill, the happier I am). I also like to read (mostly fantasy and thrillers), watch football (I follow a third of the league, and trying to keep straight who traded whom is a lot some days), cross stitch (mostly large pieces), and talk or chat with friends.

I also like to interact with my family. I have my mom still living (my dad died in 2010), and I have a brother and sister in law I'm very close to. I dogsit his dog whenever he goes out of town. He has a boxer named Vin. (I'll get a piccy of him later on so you can see how cute he is. My mom and I have a running argument about it. She thinks he's ugly,lol.) And I have a cat, Yes Dear, who's pictured. She's the most loveable thing I've ever had!!! Unfortunately, she rules the roost with an iron paw. And man, I've learned since I started working that when she wants attention, she wants it NOW!!! I also have two good friends in Columbus I may talk about (Julie and Dawn) and one in England (Vicki).

Okay, I'll leave you with that for now, but I'll be back over the weeks as I learn new things and hopefully share those lessons with others.

Friday, September 5, 2014


My name: Shawnee Haslon

Contact info:

My Bio:

I am a Senior, majoring in Psychology. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, and I graduated from Hughes Center High school. My freshman year here is when I first learned about RAPP, so I made it my mission to eventually apply. I was a member of RAPP XXVIII, and I have been a part of the RAPP community since then. Joining RAPP was one of the best decisions I've ever made. RAPP enriched my college experience, and helped me become a better person. When I'm not studying for classes, I'm reading a book. I love to read, and write also (fiction), it's one of my passions. I don't watch much TV, but I love YouTube. If I could get paid to watch hair care videos, my life would be made. Healthy hair care is another one of my passions. I also love sports, especially basketball (the NBA to be exact), CELTICS, that's my team! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014


My name: Tristen Hall

Contact Info:

My bio:
I am a second year Psychology and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Major. I am proudly from Cleveland, Ohio, so yes, I am a fan of all Cleveland sports' teams. This is my second year being involved in RAPP after participating in RAPP XXIX last year. I am very fond of the RAPP program, and I think that it has helped to shape and give a purpose to my time here at UC. Around campus, I am also a part of the Turner Scholars program and the STARS program. In my spare time, I thoroughly enjoy shopping and binge watching shows and movies on Netflix. I also love to cook, almost as much as I love to eat!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Went Well: Reflections on Reflecting

Written for and originally posted at ACPA Commission for Social Justice Educators' blog.

In the many years I worked in social justice education through the University of Cincinnati Racial Awareness Program (RAPP), I’ve been grateful to work with committed and passionate student workers and AmeriCorps Public Ally apprentices. All of these have worked both in co-facilitating educational dialogue programming as well as the administrative work necessary to make these programs run.

Regular meetings, usually weekly, that include both task-oriented work and developmental conversations are part of our supervision routine.  Over the last four years, I’ve made a regular habit of structured reflection time where we look at specific tasks the person or we together completed and explore two key questions:

  1. What went well in the process?
  2. What is something worth remembering from the process, maybe something great we want to remember to do again or something new it inspires us to try?

Recording responses to the latter question generates a long list of “Lessons Learned” over the year that accumulate at the end of our agendas and are the basis for blog posts the students write. Initially, I asked people to write one post at the end of their tenure; for the last year and a half I’ve asked them to write the posts regularly to share the many things they learn/re-learn/are learning over time.

I started with the first question of “what went well” because nearly every person who’s worked with RAPP in a co-facilitator role has had one overdeveloped skill: Describing what they think they did “wrong.” Our ability to acknowledge things that went well and things they do well was sorely underdeveloped.

Until last year, I’d kept this practice reactive. We always reflected afterward. Outside of structured full staff trainings, I only brought in models & articles to discuss after I identified a deficit in knowledge/skills I wanted us to work on.

This past fall, a student worker Brice & I embarked on a journey together to be proactive around this work. We started with The Art of Effective Facilitation: Reflection from Social Justice Educators, edited by Lisa N. Landeman.

I’d previously bought copies of this book for all the student co-facilitators in our programs but had only engaged it in pre-service training. Throughout the fall, Brice would select a chapter from the book for us both to read, we’d read it between meetings, then discuss it at the meetings. Occasionally, Brice would create an activity for us to do together based on the reading.

Inspired by this as well as our disagreements around his skill as a facilitator (I think he does well all-around in the many roles we fill as facilitators; he did not), I pulled out “Effective Facilitation: Self-Evaluation Checklist” by Dr. Kathy Obear. Rather than rush through all the dozens of skills in one go, I thought it’d be useful for us to give them time.  So, three or four times a month, we’d discuss just five of the skills at a time.  We’d each rate ourselves on each skill and discuss ways we did them, times we hadn’t, ways that the different work we did used the skills in different ways, and how we saw each other demonstrating the skills.
March at ACPA Nat'l Convention, Brice & Rebecca (center)
 got to talk with Kathy Obear (left)

I’d previously used this same list, but as a whole in one meeting or spread over at most three meetings.  Breaking the piece up over time like this has given us a chance for deep reflection and created a regular opportunity for feedback and reflection. I’ve since used this spread-over-time technique with other student workers, while still using whole articles, chapters, and videos as before.  For example, a student worker and I are going through the Code of Ethics for Antiracist White Allies point by point in preparation for our work with RAPP’s summer intensive on racial justice.

Recently, Brice & I reflected as described in the beginning of this post on the process of taking several months to work through the self-evaluation checklist. In many ways, this post is our Lessons Learned blog post.

If you asked me before I started working with RAPP how important reflection was, I would have said not so much.  Now, after working with RAPP, I know it to be extremely important. Though I practice these reflections in the realm of social justice education, I can see their application being useful in any field of work. The exercises  and blog posts we worked on over the course of the year boosted my confidence, reinforced my skillset, and gave me a framework for my own student workers (someday).

I remember when we began reading “The Art of Effective Facilitation.” I was thinking it would be some magic tome that would finally prepare me to do what I had always dreamed of doing: being a facilitator. The book did teach me some new things, but what it really did was reinforce how much I already knew. I was already a facilitator!  The same can be said about our discussions around Kathy Obear’s checklist. I remember going through the list five skills at a time and being shocked at how many I had successfully demonstrated. We reached the end of the list and I thought, “That’s it?”

As Rebecca highlighted above, I excelled at pointing out my faults.  I am my biggest critic, but I don't often take the time to analyze my mistakes. These mistakes become opportunities for growth once given the time to reflect. Similarly, I rarely take the time to appreciate the good work I have done. Through facilitating our 9-month social justice program, I have seen breakthroughs in the RAPPers and in myself. Being able to highlight these breakthroughs in the RAPP blog boosts my morale and hopefully that of the reader as well.

All of this reflection has been invaluable to my growth as a student, facilitator, and aspiring professional.

Brice is one of 15 recipients of the RAPP Social Justice Peer Educator Certificate
this academic year, the curriculum of which is built around this idea:
I exemplify social justice education when I commit to continual self-reflection
& intentional development work as a social justice educator.

Brice Mickey has been involved with RAPP since 2010. He is currently a senior at the University of Cincinnati majoring in Information Technology. He has also served as the 9-month co-facilitator for RAPP XXVIII and XXIX.

Rebecca Lehman has been involved with RAPP since 2006. She is currently transitioning out of the role of Program Coordinator for the program and is excited to see where she goes next.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Last Film of Courageous People Series

In Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, we talked about the nonviolence movement in the United States and the teachings of Martin Luther King.

Those who participated in KNCR as well as the SALD Community are all invited to join us as we look at nonviolent movements from across the globe. This series is titled, "Courageous People".

We will now look at the nonviolent movement and resistance that fought segregation in Nashville.

Feel free to bring lunch! This is open to all UC students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders!

                                                  Tuesday, August 5th, 12pm- 1:30pm
                                                       6th Floor Steger Student Life